In the Guided Fate Paradox, you take on the unassuming role of a young man named, Renya. He never wins at anything. For seventeen years, he’s been a nothing, a nobody, until he decides to play the lottery. Renya happens upon a cute young girl, in a maid uniform, that asks him to enter a contest. He has no choice. The prize? A golden ball, getting beaten with a spiked bat, and becoming God. Yes, by happenstance, Renya becomes God, and is tasked with answering prayers.
You take control of Renya as he ventures through a version of heaven, known as Celestia. You begin in the main hub, where a whole host of NPCs stand ready to do your bidding. Here, you stock up on items, buy, sell, enhance gear, save, and speak to the celestial inhabitants.
The main aspect of the game takes place in the Fate Revolution Circuit. As God, you are tasked with answering prayers, and the Fate Revolution Circuit sifts through the prayers, and finds a prayer suitable to God’s level. It creates an alternate reality, known as the Copy World. God cannot influence the real world, or Original World, since his presence would cause a panic, thus he ventures into the Copy World to deal with the person’s demons, thereby influencing the real world with his actions.
The Copy World is made up of randomly created dungeons, where monsters, items, and bosses appear throughout. Your character walks around on a grid, much like a chess board, and can only move left, right, up, and down. No diagonal or free roaming here. The camera gives you four views, which you can change with the shoulder buttons.
The battle system takes an interesting twist on the standard RTS game play, seen in other Nippon Ichi games. Instead of the normal attack, move, and wait system, The Guided Fate Paradox opts for something that feels a bit more action oriented. Monsters move after you do. So you can move around freely, but every step you take allows the monsters to take a step right after you do. It’s turn based, but cuts out the waiting and makes for some pretty intense and dynamic battles.
Monsters have white barriers around them, delineating their field of vision. If you step into this area, battles ensue. Attacks happen one after the other. In the beginning, you simply attack using fists and brute strength. However, defeated enemies drop weapons and armor. These can be equipped to your head, both hands, legs, feet, and back. These can range from pistols, daggers, head gear, capes, bat wings, to tank legs, and gas masks. Each piece of gear has a special ability, so equipment plays a huge role on how you look, and what kind of character you’d like to build.
Leveling is really deep. As you destroy monsters, you gain levels. Your weapons also accumulate points, until they reach 100%. When they do, they Burst, and create an item chip that you can use to level up. Weapons that Burst can be upgraded at the Blacksmith, for a fee. This resets the 100% limit, and upgrading can raise this limit above 100%. The chips they produce can be placed within a chessboard type map, known as the Divinigram, which raises your stats by one point. These range from attack, defense, speed, and hit. More options open up the further you progress allowing for a truly God-like character build.
The characters and creatures are 2D, sprite based, and anime inspired, with lots of colors, exaggerated clothing, and wild hair. All the environments are 3D. The animation, what there is, is decent. Most of the character and enemy movements involve walks, attacks, and poses. A lot of the emotion is shown through thought bubbles, with hearts, and other images to denote feeling.
The music is amazing. The opening song really gets your blood pumping! After watching the beginning intro, I was so enthused to jump into this game, simply because of the opening. The boss battle music is epic. There are choirs, electric guitars, and chants through out. It’s a mix of electronica, rock, orchestra, and something from the Victorian era. Seriously, go give it a listen.
The art style, while heavily anime, is really well done. All the girls have large eyes, intricate adornments, and look like they’re a lot younger than the story would have you believe. Meanwhile, the men are tall, slender, with adorable, boyish good looks. You know, your standard anime fair. If you love it, this will be more of the same. For those that don’t like anime, there won’t be anything for you in the design. But I like it, and found it visually appealing.
Customization is amazing in this game. The choices are massive! Each different piece of armor changes the look of your character. So you can walk around holding a gun, a lance, wearing a gas mask, bat wings, and tank feet! I found myself trying to equip every piece I came across. I eventually started to stick with gear that I gradually started to level up, but the amount of weapons and armor leaves this game pretty open ended. It was also nice to see the character morph and change with the different sets I adorned him with.
The battles were fast paced, and never boring. I like the mix of turn based, and free roaming. I think it gave the game a new flair, while retaining the tried and true chaos that has made Nippon Ichi games some of my favorites! Attacks have a lot of weight, while special skills light the screen with explosions, bursts of color, and damage galore!
Also, leveling was, while a bit weird since you always go back to level one, very satisfying. Standard grinding, mixed with the ability to level up your character with attack, speed, and defense chips via the Divinagram, added some depth and allowed me to create my style of character. Melee, of course. Get that magic stuff out of here!
Random Dungeons can get a bit irksome. I wish there were set levels to explore, but I get that random adds to the replay value. The problem with this is that you never know what you’re getting into, and it’s really easy to spawn into an area where the enemies will kill you, and traps will litter the floor and cause a lot of headaches. Especially later in the game.
Which brings me to dying. When you die, you lose everything in your inventory. That’s freaking bogus. Seriously. You can store items, but there are times when a boss will overpower you, and you’ll lose all your hard earned, leveled up gear! Grinding can solve this, of course, and there’s some type of storage system in place, but I don’t see the need to strip you of all your items after death. It just isn’t fair, and made the game less enjoyable.
And while I really enjoyed the story and all, it takes up a lot of time. There is a lot of talking. The beginning of the game was spent listening to exposition and dialogue, while watching mini sprites with hardly any animation walk, pose, and then speak. I mean, they ramble on and on after every stage. After almost every battle. I’d be okay if it was in smaller chunks, but you can spend a good ten to twenty minutes sitting there, watching them talk. It slowed the pace of the game to a crawl.
The Guided Fate Paradox is a really fun game. Random dungeons can cause some irksome issues, but never too serious or game breaking. The idea of starting from level one each and every time you finish –or die– makes it hard to gauge just how powerful you really are, yet you still feel a sense of strength and progression none the less. Battles are quick, satisfying, and never get boring. And while the story may be a bit long and overbearing, it’s still interesting enough that you will want to know what happens next. It is definitely worth a look.